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(2,706 posts)
Sat Jan 30, 2021, 04:47 PM Jan 2021

A Good Article in the New Yorker - What we should all be taught in history class.

The Pre-Civil War Fight Against White Supremacy
In a country riven by racial politics, three women strove for a just society.

By Dorothy Wickenden

January 18, 2021


The story is about Senator William H Seward and his wife Frances. She was an avid abolitionist and actually sold Hariett Tubmann a piece of property she owned...7 acres with a wood framed house where she settled her parents she rescued from slavery in the south on one of her many trips back after escaping for her own freedom. I found this portion especially troubling - difficult reading, but this history is something all Americans should have to know.

"But, as they travelled into Virginia, the roads became rougher and the farmhouses and towns fewer and farther between. The blight of slavery was pervasive. Virginia enslaved four hundred and seventy thousand people—almost half its population. Stopping at a tavern one day, the Sewards heard weeping and moaning, and saw ten naked boys tied together by their wrists, being driven forward by a white man bearing a whip. They watched with horror as he led them to a horse trough to drink, and then to a shed, where they lay down, sobbing themselves to sleep. The man had bought the children from several plantations, and was taking them to Richmond—a few of the tens of thousands of people Virginia supplied every year to the cotton and rice fields of the Deep South. Frances, unable to get the scene out of her mind, was struck by the emptiness of Thomas Jefferson’s promise of “equal and exact justice to all men.” She wrote in her journal, “Slavery—slavery the evil effects constantly coming before me and marring everything.”

"Frances was catalyzed most of all by a friend far removed from the reactionaries of Auburn and Washington: a freedom seeker from Maryland’s Eastern Shore who, at the age of twenty-seven, had walked out of slavery, leaving behind her parents and siblings and her free husband. Born Araminta Ross, she went by her mother’s first name, Harriet, and her husband’s surname, Tubman."

and it continues

"Frances shared Harriet’s love of family, and knew that her parents were unwell and unhappy. Harriet’s father had rheumatism; her mother blamed her for depositing them in a remote, frigid, foreign town, then rushing off with no guarantee that she would return. On her journeys, Harriet was hungry and exposed to the elements for weeks at a time. With the lives of her “passengers” utterly dependent on her decisions, she had to be constantly alert to the rustle of branches, the barking of bloodhounds, the muted exchanges among slave catchers on horseback. Auburn, midway across New York State, would be a far more convenient location for Harriet and her parents. One of the parcels of land that Frances had inherited was about a mile from her house on South Street. It included seven acres of farmland, a new frame house, a barn, and a few outbuildings. She decided that Harriet should have it."

I for one am looking forward to our new $20 bills.

12 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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A Good Article in the New Yorker - What we should all be taught in history class. (Original Post) c-rational Jan 2021 OP
This message was self-deleted by its author Sneederbunk Jan 2021 #1
Thanks for posting. That description of the ten boys chained together and being driven... brush Jan 2021 #2
Several books about Harriet Tubman. Great reads, all of them. Butterflylady Jan 2021 #3
Thank you for this, c-rational! hedda_foil Jan 2021 #4
Glad to help with the coursework. c-rational Jan 2021 #6
What a wonderful story! hedda_foil Jan 2021 #7
C-rational, thank you jrthin Jan 2021 #5
That is so true. hedda_foil Jan 2021 #8
"Absent real information..." Duppers Jan 2021 #10
There's thousands of good Turin_C3PO Jan 2021 #11
Lots are held back by boards of education filled with popular ignorance. Hermit-The-Prog Jan 2021 #12
K & R Duppers Jan 2021 #9

Response to c-rational (Original post)


(55,123 posts)
2. Thanks for posting. That description of the ten boys chained together and being driven...
Sat Jan 30, 2021, 05:00 PM
Jan 2021

by a man with a whip to sell is heart breaking. Most of us have no idea how horrific enslavement was. It's legacy is still affecting race relations in the nation and most want to hear nothing about it or attempt to make amends.


(16,414 posts)
4. Thank you for this, c-rational!
Sat Jan 30, 2021, 05:27 PM
Jan 2021

I'm developing a new course on American Women's History and I'll include this article. It's essential reading.


(2,706 posts)
6. Glad to help with the coursework.
Sat Jan 30, 2021, 07:03 PM
Jan 2021

Your post made me think back to my 7th grade class (in 1967) when our teacher told us we had to do a report and an oral presentation on some facet of NYC. I asked my Mom for suggestions. She said she read a great article in the New Yorker (she was an avid fan of this magazine) and I could probably find it in the attic. Sure enough, after about a 5 minute search I found it atop a pile of old magazines open to the Article...The Brooklyn Bridge...it was dated 1954.

I wrote the paper from this article and gave the oral presentation and got an A+. I spoke of the steel cable which had problems in the manufacture, but they kept bringing the good reel around the block on horse drawn carriages for testing, the workers getting the bends during the construction of the foundation, the number of times it was sold, the day it opened and people stampeded off because they thought it was collapsing...it was the cadence of step, Roebling's hand written specifications, Mary his wife bringing instructions to the construction crew as Roebling had been injured by a ferry on the Brooklyn side and was confined to bed watching construction from a shoreside window. Good writing does bring history to life.


(4,859 posts)
5. C-rational, thank you
Sat Jan 30, 2021, 06:08 PM
Jan 2021

so much for sharing. The problem today is, many people don't know our history, because they haven't been taught it. Absent real information any bogus and perverted info will take its place with the uninformed.


(14,591 posts)
11. There's thousands of good
Sun Jan 31, 2021, 08:46 AM
Jan 2021

teachers who are willing and able to teach true history but they’re held back by the curriculum and/or district.

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